A voice that will be sorely missed

By Simon Barrow
July 4, 2008

The news that doyen BBC correspondent Charles Wheeler has died is a sad day for journalism.

I only met the man once - after a Reith Lecture two years ago. It was a brief exchange, but it was a privilege to have the opportunity to thank him for his many years of truth-trelling and journalistic integrity.

A reporter, presenter and producer, he covered stories such as the assassination of Martin Luther King and Watergate when based in Washington - not to mention issues oif global concern , peace and war, and human rights.

Fiercely independent, Wheeler stood out strongly against attempts to 'dumb down' reporting or make it captive to governing and corporate interests. He was interested in what was the case and what mattered, not simply "a good story" - which all-too-often seems to be the ruling ethic these days.

He was considered "a legend", BBC director general Mark Thompson said. "His integrity, his authority and his humanity graced the BBC's airwaves over many decades."

BBC Radio 4 will be paying tribute with a special 45-minute programme, Charles Wheeler In His Own Words at 1100 BST on Saturday, 5 July 2008 or afterwards (for a week) at the Listen Again page.

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